On April 27, 1994 Four ex-presidents
|Nixon, Bush and Carter|
|Clinton, Reagan & Ford|
Ford, Reagan, Carter, Bush and a current President, Clinton,
convened for the funeral of Richard M. Nixon.
Playwright Rick Cleveland known for some of 'my' favorite political series; House of Cards and The West Wing came up with the idea for this play Five Presidents after seeing the iconic photo of these presidents gathered on this auspicious date.
After Watergate and Nixon, life for his successors had to change...
No scenery changes were needed as all the dialogue happened within one space, the Executive Board Room at the Nixon Library. What a good vehicle to use for the conversation the 5 must have had here since they came as political adversaries bringing up bitter pasts/differences and the legacy bequeathed to each.
Historical terminology and references alluded to included: Betty Ford Centers, Carter and Desert Storm, Logan Act, Energy Crisis, Carter and the rabid bunny, Air traffic controllers strike, Nation Healthcare Initiative, Whitewater, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Rowan and Martin's Laugh In and Saturday Night Live. And name dropping like crazy included personalities like: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Ross Perot, Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, Ann Richards, Bob Dole, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Gordon Liddy, Gennifer Flowers, Mubarek, Hubert Humphrey, the Smothers Brothers, Yitzhak Rabin and Anwar el Sadat to name a few...
Thank goodness the program had short synopses of both the people and terminology besides a historical events map as a refresher...
Cleveland researched all the Presidents as if he was writing a biography for each and filled the no intermission hour and a half performance with an abundance of zingers. Perhaps our favorite was of Bill Clinton's recantation of meeting an old boyfriend of Hillary's. Upon telling her of the meeting, he asked Hillary to imagine her life if she had married the other fellow. She didn't hesitate to respond. "Well, I'd be married to the President."
Tah, dah, boom.
Perhaps the real highlight of my evening is capturing the scene below...
|Never thought I'd see Natureman embracing 2 Republicans...|
Need I say more? An evening of one liner entertainment. Five Presidents just may be playing in a Rep theatre near you. We all sure could use a history review about the men we put in power. We might as well laugh about it/ otherwise we might cry.
(Playing in Milwaukee until the 5th)
Always remember that others may hate you but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.
For history buffs the full President's Biographies can be found :